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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 04:16am
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It didn't take long for the surviving Chamarran life-pods to be pulled into the imposing dagger-shaped bulk of the Bulldozer. The tractor fields deposited them in one of the force-field enveloped hangars where each one was surrounded by dozens of para-marines. The marines cut off the hatches, then heavy-handedly dragged out the occupants and lined them against the far wall. No-one spoke to them, and some of the Chamarrans were quite convinced they were about to be unceremoniously executed.

They wouldn't get off that easily.

After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence in which the aliens were scanned for weapons, contraband, cybernetics or other hidden surprises, and any Chamarran that tried to resist or even move found himself clubbed by power-armored marines, a shuttle arrived in the expansive hangar bay.

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The shuttle was unmarked, but the stony-faced men and women that disembarked carried on their uniforms the all-seeing-eye insignia of CEID. Their leader, a black-haired woman who wore sunglasses even in the artificially lit bay of the Bulldozer, was clearly accustomed to being in command. "Has anyone talked to them?" she asked the colonel in charge of the marines and indicated the Chamarrans.

"No, agent. They have been separated as per your orders."

The operative nodded, obviously pleased. "Good work. Lock them up individually. We'll interrogate them one by one."

The colonel took a moment to issue a set of commands over his helmet radio, and the Chamarrans were marched off to the brig, where each would be locked in a small and uncomfortable cell, to await their inevitable interrogation by Directorate agents. It wouldn't be a pleasant experience -- CEID had long since abandoned purely verbal interrogation, instead blending verbal queries with physical discomfort, drug cocktails, mental intrusion and cybernetic probing. The 'experimental interrogation' program had been developed with humans in mind, and it would be interesting to see how the aliens would respond to it. Of course from the aliens' perspective, "interesting" wasn't the proper term to describe the process they were about to endure. "Agonizing" would be closer to the mark.

When the Chamarrans had been marched away to the holding areas, the marine colonel turned to indicate the life-pods. "And what about this... junk..." but when he looked, he saw that some fo the CEID agents were already swarming over them, prodding the alien systems in order to learn about the Chamarran technology whatever they could. The high-power scans had revealed quite a bit about the nature of the stealth ship, particularly after it had blown its absorbent panels, but it was still aggravating that they hadn't had a chance to examine it up close. Now, the pods would have to do.

At first, the CEID agent-in-charge worried what her superiors would think of the self-destruction of the Chamarran vessel. That outcome had not been unexpected, but it was still a sub-optimal resolution of the situation, and Agent Friday aspired to a succesful career in the Directorate. Of course, once she found out the contents of the life-pod computers, she stopped worrying about career damage, and began wondering about the possibility of an early promotion...

***


Meanwhile, on Formalhaut...

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Major Ray Gunsly staggered from the V-chamber, stopping his litany of curses and profanity only to gasp for air, then resume again. From the chambers next to him emerged the men and women of his command, which to him made it quite clear what had happened. The god-damned ship had blown. Again. How many times did this make now? Over half a dozen, he was pretty sure. "I don't know why we even bother with boardings anymore," the major growled as he wrapped the waiting bathrobe around himself. "Might as well blown the damned ship before they do it..."



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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes


Last edited by Siege on 2010-09-25 05:34am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 05:22am
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Risea Sector, Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya


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2nd Lieutenant David Vasquez (right) leads another Imperial Guardsman through the streets of Seize

It had been a long 48 hours for 2nd Lieutenant David Vasquez and the remaining members of his platoon after they had lost contact with HQ. With several soldiers dead and their comms equipment damaged beyond repair after an ambush by a mob of feral Schismatics, they had no choice but to keep moving in order to avoid further attacks. Upon arriving at their would-be current hideout, the local high school, Vasquez and the rest of his platoon ran into a very unlikely group of survivors...

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Left to right: Shizuka Marikawa, Alice Maresato, Saya Takagi, Rei Miyamoto, Saeko Busujima

The evacuation of Seize's civilian population into the emergency shelters was not as thorough or orderly as the police and other local defense forces would have wanted; while the majority did make their way to the shelters, a few were still unable to make it on time and were thus left to their own devices once the Chimaerans and Schismatics started coming in force. This particular group was mainly composed of high school students, led around by a token adult (the school nurse, to be precise) and taking care of a young girl who had been separated from her parents during the evacuation. "What are you people doing out of the shelters?" Vasquez asked them.

"We never even got to the shelters to begin with, sir," one of the students, Rei Miyamoto, replied. "We've been holed up here at Fujimi High ever since. Are you here to clear out those monsters?"

"Pretty much, yeah," one of Vasquez's men, Sergeant Paul Jackson, said. "However, we've already lost a few of our guys, and our comms equipment got junked during a Schismatic attack. HQ's probably sending some more people over to find out what happened to us, but I don't know exactly when they'll be coming." Paul's eyes drifted from Rei's ample bust over to the DeBarros M11A rifle she was holding. "Where'd you get that rifle?"

Another student, Saya Takagi, spoke up. "We've been scrounging around for weapons, ammunition, and other supplies ever since we got locked out of the shelters. While we were able to find a few things of note like that M11A, pickings are becoming increasingly scarce."

Vasquez gestured towards the large-breasted blonde woman with the small child. "I assume she's the leader of your rag-tag group, yes?"

"Actually, I'm just the team medic," the large-breasted blonde, Shizuka Marikawa, said. "Our leader's actually another student named Takashi Komuro. I can introduce you and your men to him if you wish."

"...If you say so, then," Vasquez replied, barely containing his disbelief. "Lead on, madam."

As the platoon followed the students onto the Fujimi High School grounds, Sergeant Jackson took note of the sword carried by the third student, Saeko Busujima. "Who the hell brings a sword to a gun fight?" he remarked derisively.

"It's still better than nothing," Saeko retorted. "As much as I'd like a rifle of my own, there simply aren't enough to go around. Most of us still have to make do with pistols and blunt objects against those...things."



I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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Phantasee: Don't be a dick.
Stofsk: What are you, his mother?
The Yosemite Bear: Obviously, which means that he's grounded, and that she needs to go back to sucking Mr. Coffee's cock.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 03:12pm
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Hallways, CNS Datton
Pendleton, The Outback


Mercy, mercy please!

Let em' rip, men!

Captain Lagus Xader never believed he would come to feel regret over what happened. Never, in all his time as a Black Beret, did he believe about mercy. But now, he was thinking back. And wishing he could undo that massacre.

It all began innocently enough. Corbas had told him that the victims had ended up as slaves because they, apparently, wanted to leave the Centrality for some other place. She didn't know what place, but for Xader, the fact that they were dealing with "escapees" was reason enough.

Centralist policy for such people was to place them in "re-education" camps located on isolated worlds within the Centrality. Execution was only reserved for "unrepentants", who refused to compromise on their ideals, and thus were a threat to the Central State.

The people they've rescued maybe fufilled the first requirement, but not the second as far as Xader knew. They looked quite poor, even when taking their former status as slaves in cosideration; perhaps they left the Centrality because of poverty and not due to political considerations? While the Central State had taken great pains to ensure that the quality of life for the average citizen would be at acceptable levels, there were still persistent pockets of poverty, mostly in the colonies. Even with propaganda constantly reminding "rimmers" that the State has not abandoned them, the fact that there was still clandestine migration meant that said propaganda was not convincing enough. It was this thought that made Xader doubt his initial conclusion that they've rescued "traitors". Heck, he saw two children with the group, so this couldn't be your typical political opponents. Heck, maybe a "re-education" camp would be an improvement to them!

So Xader, uncertain of what should be done next, decided to call his superior, Major Uldrig Jagge.

That was, in hindsight, a mistake. For Jagge came with pretty much the entire Black Beret team, though only four accompanied him to the room that held the "prisoners". Xader could feel the Major's fear of having to show them to the Anglians in the ragged state they were. The rescued people hadn't changed clothes, since the replacements for them had been left behind in the Centrality out of haste.

But when he told the Major his findings, all hell broke loose.

Xader knew that his superior had a very dim view of anyone who left, let alone opposed, the Centrality. Yet he thought that if he made a sound argument, then Jagge would relent.

Unfortunately, reason did not win out that day.

Jagge refused to believe him, and said that he was intent on resisting any Anglian boarding, disregarding Forg's orders otherwise. The Black Beret men were already jittery due to the EMP that disabled the Datton, and expected boarding at any moment. When the sound of an explosion was heard, Jagge panicked, and ordered his men to shoot the rescued citizens and the "witnesess".

Xader did not have to think twice wondering who the withnesses were. He managed to escape. Corbas was hit, but Xader knew she was still alive, as well as some of the others: the BB's were hasty with the executions as they needed to resist the Anglians.

He ran down the corridors of the ship, trying to reach the Command Bridge. The Datton wasn't too big, and he reached the Bridge in only a few minutes.

But instead of seeing Forg, he found Lieutenant Sorge instead.

"Captain Xader?", Sorge asked. "Are we under attack?!"

"No! It's the Major! He's instigating this fight! We have to alert Forg!"

Sorge was shocked. "The BB's attacking the Anglians?! What are those fools doing?!"

"No time! Find Forg!"

Both men were soon rushing down where Forg was...

Some time later...

It was over. The Black Berets fought to the last man, taking no prisioners.

Only Captain Lagus Xader chose to obey Forg's order of no fighting the Anglians, and for that he lived.

He was in the infirmary, looking at the wounded. The Anglians suffered only wounded, though a few were severe. The Datton crew suffered 11 fatalities and 25 wounded. At least half of the rescued citizens were dead, the remainder being wounded.

As for Corbas, she was alive and well, though still bed-ridden. Xader was nearby, if only to strike up a brief conversation.

"You doin' alright?", he asked.

Corbas chuckled a bit. "Yep. Never realized that my most serious wound of my career would be inflicted by our own..."

"At least you can brag to the guys at the CIS that you managed to survive an Hypervelocity round unprotected. That's something."

"Oh I know. But those guys were being lousy shots anyway."

"Yeah, that."

And they continued talking.




End of BB's POV, or more exactly, Xader's and Corbas's POV.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 03:30pm
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Steve wrote:
A couple hours after the fighting stopped, a haggard Commodore Forg was brought to Captain Shetty's office. Steaming pots of tea and coffee, as well as a container of ice and containers with milk, honey, and cream were present for the Centrality officer's pick. Shetty was sipping at tea himself and looking over a report, now that the ship was back on invasion support operations. "Commodore Forg, I am pleased you decided to remain breathing," he stated, leaving it up to Forg to continue the conversation as he desired.


Forg had not drunk coffee since he left the Centrality, and thus appreciated the Anglian's seeming hospitality. Tea was not that much for his liking, but he did not show it. He held a cup of hot coffee in his hand, sweetened with honey due to the absence of sugar. He would have to remind this captain about the lack of sugar. Forg always preferred sugar in his coffee.

"It was a difficult choice, really. I would have chosen diplomacy if not for my orders to mantain secrecy at all costs, even if I had to kill myself and everyone on this ship. Once you discovered us, however, it was inevitable that we would be captured. Ironically, if not for the Black Berets' independent...initiative, as you found out, I would have pushed that button eventually, and we would not be having this conversation. Their actions are not my responsibility, but rather that of their superiors. In fact, I believe they planned this before we even came here, so your intervention was eventually positive. Unfortunately, half of our rescued citizens are dead, so I cannot help but feel responsible for all that happened."

Taking another sip of his coffee, he waited for Shetty's response.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 03:59pm
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Ackerman System, The Outback


Vice-Admiral Guring Kordis felt hopeless.

From the Hiigaran ship's comm suite, he had tried to get a hold on the Datton, but only static awaited him. He tried many times to contact Forg, but now he was brooding, thinking that the Datton was now a ghost ship. No Hiigaran dared to disturb him.

All of a sudden, there was a beep from the holotank. The Hiigaran Captain noticed that it came from an Anglian ship, and assumed that it was about to inform the Datton's fate. He activated the device.

But instead of seeing an Anglian captain, he saw a ragged-looking Centrality officer, apparently the Datton's master.

"Vice-Admiral Kordis, look!"

Upon seeing Forg, Kordis thought that his eyes were fooling him. But there was no mistaking the Commodore, and the Vice-Admiral scrambled to the hologram.

"Ah, Commodore Forg. Still standing, I see."

"Scared you, Kordis? Sorry about that, that EMP didn't discriminate."

"I see. What happened? Tardis is already recalling my task force in order to go back home."

"Really? Well, it's a long story. I'm communicating from an Anglian cruiser."

"An Anglian cruiser?!"

"As I said, it's a long story. I'll tell you later. If you're coming to get me, I'll be waiting."

"Now wait just a minute-"

But Forg's image was already gone.

The Hiigaran Captain looked at him for a moment. "Should we continue on to Pendleton, Vice-Admiral Kordis?"

"Yes", Kordis replied curtly. "I want to hear the Commodore's story personally."




Result: Kordis is on his way to Pendleton. And he won't be happy with what Forg has to tell him.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.


Last edited by Force Lord on 2010-09-25 04:44pm, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 04:15pm
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Force Lord wrote:
Forg had not drunk coffee since he left the Centrality, and thus appreciated the Anglian's seeming hospitality. Tea was not that much for his liking, but he did not show it. He held a cup of hot coffee in his hand, sweetened with honey due to the absence of sugar. He would have to remind this captain about the lack of sugar. Forg always preferred sugar in his coffee.

"It was a difficult choice, really. I would have chosen diplomacy if not for my orders to mantain secrecy at all costs, even if I had to kill myself and everyone on this ship. Once you discovered us, however, it was inevitable that we would be captured. Ironically, if not for the Black Berets' independent...initiative, as you found out, I would have pushed that button eventually, and we would not be having this conversation. Their actions are not my responsibility, but rather that of their superiors. In fact, I believe they planned this before we even came here, so your intervention was eventually positive. Unfortunately, half of our rescued citizens are dead, so I cannot help but feel responsible for all that happened."

Taking another sip of his coffee, he waited for Shetty's response.



Shetty listened to Forg speak. He couldn't bring himself to understand the mindset of these people. To choose to die, and to kill your own, rather than accept mere boarding? It was an insular, xenophobic thinking that he - a man who had worked with aliens and persons of other nations in his life - could not comprehend.

"I would say you should have identified yourself upon challenge, or allowed boarding when we first contacted you," Shetty stated, "but I imagine your Black Berets would not have taken kindly to such." Bloody bastards he thought to himself. "I honestly don't understand why you would kill yourself and all your crew and citizens to have avoided a simple boarding, or why the Berets would do the same. Had you accepted boarding we would have confirmed your mission and sent you on your way, even aided you in repairs to get you back across the Gap. But now..." Shetty drew in a sigh. "I'm afraid you and your crew will, for the moment, be held under custody. Once we confirm the facts of what happened a return to the Centrality can be negotiated, but for now we have only the basic fact that your forces fired at mine to consider. If you wish to protest this, I can arrange for you to meet with Admiral Fisher, my commanding officer, when he has the time."

By doing this, are we damning this poor man and his crew?, Shetty wondered. Will the Centrality government order punishment, even execution, for what has happened here?

A message flashed across his screen just then, from Dr. Tyriza Fentis, his ship's chief surgeon. Another complication, Shetty thought as he looked back to Forg, ready to inform him of the content: One of the six survivors is dead. Another has shown positive proof of ESPer capability.



In the infirmary of the ship, Fentis returned from sending her note to Captain Shetty to find her nurses trying to restrain a thirteen year old girl. "You can't make me go back!", she screamed. "They'll kill me!"

"Calm down young lady!", the brown-haired Trill urged, reaching for anasthetic. "We're not making you go anywhere!"

"They killed my parents and my brother! They'll kill me!" The girl looked intently at one of the nurses, a teal-skinned Dorei woman, and she suddenly flew backward without a hand on her. This left the left girl's leg un-held, forcing the other three to struggle even harder. "PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME GO BACK! I DON'T WANNA DIE!"

As another aid, this one a Bangladeshi man, flew backward, Fentis plunged the needle into the girl's left leg. She was still crying hysterically, pleading "Don't make me go back! I don't wanna die!" She looked directly at Fentis and an invisible force smashed into her, throwing her back into a mobile testing unit. Pain shot through her shoulders and back from the impact.

The two nurses thrown had managed to get ahold of her again, and a fifth - a strong-looking young man - helped by reaching over and holding down her shoulders. This bought critical seconds as the girl's bloodstream distributed the anasthetic to where it had to go. "Please... can't go back.... will kill me..." The girl finally fell asleep under the influence of the anasthetic.

Fentis was back on her feet, her brown hair dangling in the vision field of her green eyes. The girl was clearly a Class Five telekinetic, though she had not shown any telepathic skill. Fentis would have to arrange for the ship's ESPer Oversight Officer, Commander Lakma Surish, to be here when she came to and interview her.

Given the circumstances, Fentis could be excused for not contemplating things, like why a Class Five Telekinetic would let herself and her family get shot in the first place, or what her ultimate fate would be.



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 04:38pm
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Steve wrote:
One of the six survivors is dead. Another has shown positive proof of ESPer capability.


Wait, what? Forg nearly spit his coffee when he heard the doctor's message.

"An ESPer on my ship?" Forg was disbelieving. And teenaged? When did this oversight happen? How did-

Forg suddenly realized he didn't know why the rescued citizens were victims of Black Beret bullets. Did they know something he didn't? For a while, he thought about it.

Xader, he thought grimly. Perhaps that captain knew the answer?

"Captain Shetty, I believe there is one man who can help us figure out why the Black Berets chose to resist, and why they shot the citizens. He was the only Black Beret who chose not to resist. He was with them when the massacre happened. He's an ESPer, an empath to be exact. He was with Vilyn Corbas, our telephatic spy. Since Corbas is recovering, we must bring him here."



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 06:52pm
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Force Lord wrote:
Wait, what? Forg nearly spit his coffee when he heard the doctor's message.

"An ESPer on my ship?" Forg was disbelieving. And teenaged? When did this oversight happen? How did-

Forg suddenly realized he didn't know why the rescued citizens were victims of Black Beret bullets. Did they know something he didn't? For a while, he thought about it.

Xader, he thought grimly. Perhaps that captain knew the answer?

"Captain Shetty, I believe there is one man who can help us figure out why the Black Berets chose to resist, and why they shot the citizens. He was the only Black Beret who chose not to resist. He was with them when the massacre happened. He's an ESPer, an empath to be exact. He was with Vilyn Corbas, our telephatic spy. Since Corbas is recovering, we must bring him here."


Shetty gave a nod. "I had been led to believe that your government detected ESPers early in their lives and took them for government upbringing and training." He triggered his intercom. "Have the Marines bring the one Black Beret who surrendered, I wish to speak with him as well."

"Yes sir," was his yeoman secretary's answer.

Shetty turned his attention back to Forg as they waited for the arrival of the Black Beret Captain. He was already thinking on the situation; just what had he and his people stumbled into?



The fourteen year old boy, who identified himself as Phillip, was brought to the bedside of the sleeping ESPer girl by nurses, still on his own bed and attached to machines. Saving his life had been a complicated process and he had very nearly died in the operation; Fentis was, in fact, intending to write up one of her subordinate surgeons, Dr. (Lt.) Carl Winthrop, for showing remarkable skill in saving Phillip's life. Nearb a portable null field generator was in place, with Commander Surish standing outside of it. The Commander was a male Dorei, of light teal complexion and dark blue hair with light blue eyes. "We couldn't tell anyone," Phillip whispered as he watched his younger sister sleep. "Being on a colony, my parents were able to keep her from being detected. And they also insisted she mustn't speak on it to anyone, or they'd take her and..."

"It's quite alright, young man," Surish said in a soft tone, accented with the Yeni dialect of Jurani Dorei. "You're both safe here. And when your sister wakes up, I'm sure she'll be glad to see you're okay."

The boy nodded. He dozed off moments later.with Surish and others in the medical staff still watching.



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 08:35pm
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Steve wrote:
Shetty gave a nod. "I had been led to believe that your government detected ESPers early in their lives and took them for government upbringing and training." He triggered his intercom. "Have the Marines bring the one Black Beret who surrendered, I wish to speak with him as well."

"Yes sir," was his yeoman secretary's answer.

Shetty turned his attention back to Forg as they waited for the arrival of the Black Beret Captain. He was already thinking on the situation; just what had he and his people stumbled into?


Captain Lagus Xader was not surprised when Anglian Marines went in and demanded that he come with them. He needed to say his findings sometime anyway. Leaving the Datton's infirmary, he was surrounded by the Marines as they led him towards their ship. Along the way, he could sense their hostility, given his Black Beret background. It was not as intense as it should have been, however, since they knew he didn't raise his rifle at them.

Leaving the Datton, Xader looked amused at the hangar of the ship. Looks like an Anglian ship designer watched too much Star Wars. The hangar certainly was reminiscent of that of an Imperial Star Destroyer. But he had no time to watch the scenery, and continued to walk deeper into the vessel.

He could feel the emotions of the ship's crew, which were, predictably, serious and no-nonsense. Serving in a warship often did that. Not once did he strike up a conversation with his Marine escorts, who weren't keen on talking with a Black Beret, anyway.

After what seemed an eternity, the group finally reached the entrance to the Captain's quarters.

"Captain Shetty is expecting you, sir," a Marine said.

He soon entered the room, the door closing down behind him. He looked at the very serious faces of Captain Shetty and Commodore Forg.

"Sirs, you want to know what I know?" Then looking at Forg, said, "I'm afraid that it won't be pleasant, sirs."

"Just spill the beans already, Captain." Forg was not amused.

Xader took a deep breath. Now or never.

"As you may know, I was assigned to where our citizens were being held, to supervise them. Being an empath, I could complement our spy's telepathy, who was by chance at the same place as I. Apparently she knew something fishy about them, but failed to report out pity for them. I at first deduced that we were dealing with political "escapees", but they looked too poor even for former slaves, and thus I asked the spy to tell me what she discovered, or I would ask my superior to do an interrogation."

"What she told me was stunning for me. These were poor colonists that were eking out a living in Rimland Sector, and were convinced that the Central State did not care for them. The ten we found in Pendleton were in fact from a group of 100 which tried to emigrate. While our nation is strict when it comes to migration, apparently there was a lapse in security and they escaped, only to end up being captured by Phfors. We still don't know what happened to the other 90, but we found the ten that mattered to us in Pendleton. We assumed that these were captured citizens, not knowing that they wanted out of the Centrality in the first place. A rescue attempt was organized, as I'm sure you are aware, with the Datton and a platoon of Black Berets. We reached the B-A Gap after the Coalition went in, since secrecy was at a premium. While you were battling the Pendies, the Datton arrived to start the rescue-ah, I'm wasting time. We all know how that ended."

"Oh, and I almost forgot. Apparently the female teenager was, in fact, a telekenetic ESPer, hidden by her parents. Not informing the Central State that you have an ESPer in your family would lead, at worst, to their "disapperance". And I can symphathize, however unlikely this sounds, being an ESPer myself. Ever since the last fifty years, ESPers are being conscripted since youth, even infancy, without their parents receiving compensation or an improvement of their social status. I don't know what caused that change of policy, but it definitely isn't popular. I've heard rumors that even some top Party members are opposed to it, if only because they fear it will cause an uprising. Given that the Centrality is virtually ruled by ESPers since the days of Dovan, the Party should know better. And if it doesn't, plenty of party members are only too happy to take advantage of that and gun for the top. But I digress."

"Once I found out all of that, I didn't know what to do. I could have called you, Forg, but by then the EMP hit and my comlink became useless. Major Jagge, however, was nearby, so I went for him and told him my findings. This was my fatal error."

"He told me that he intended to fight your men, Captain, but before that he intended to kill everyone on the Datton and use the gas once your men had occupied almost all the ship. He claimed that he recieved orders from the Commandant of the Black Berets to do so before we left for Pendleton. I don't know if our President gave that order or if the Commandant acted on his own, but we do know what happened next. You started to board the ship, causing the Major and his men to panic. That ensured that their execution attempt was not as effective as it would have been. I informed Lieutenant Sorge about the Major's intentions, and we went together to warn Forg. The Major had followed me, however, and intended to go to the main atmospheric control room to unleash the poison gas. We managed to gun him down before he could get there however. The rest, as you know, is history."

Xader looked at both men. Shetty looked pensive, and he was still processing all that information. Forg was in shock, the trembling cup in his hand showing his conflicting emotions clearly. Xader could sense outrage, fear, hopelessness, denial...

"S-So, all of this, was for nothing? Rescuing people who did not want to be rescued? All that effort for naught?" And then Forg's face froze. "How can I explain this to the Central State? What will they do?"

And Forg buried his hands in his face. It was obvious that he was anguished, fearing for himself and the livelihoods of his crew.

Xader couldn't help but feel sorry for him. The Centralist Navy was the more "civilized" branch of the military, and often more merciful than the other arms. But this mission was beyond the Navy's authority. Once the Datton returned to Centralist space, there's no telling how the government would react once it found out the truth. Chances were that the Commodore and his crew would be scapegoated, and they and their families would suffer...

He turned his sight to Captain Shetty, who had a grave look on his face.

"Captain, we are at your mercy. Please consider well your decision. The Commodore and I know that our Navy will be looking for us. Once one of their officers arrive and demand to know what happened, it's possible that heads will roll. So please, think carefully. If you communicate with your superiors, tell them to think carefully. Your consciences depend on it. And the fate of the citizens, and the Datton's crew."

He then waited, anxiously, for Shetty's answer. If the answer was to go back and face death, then so be it. His life wasn't altruistic to begin with.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 08:51pm
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HMS Challenger


Shetty listened to Captain Xader's explaination quietly. He had to complement the man on his courage in coming forward. And he could see the color drain from Forg's face.

"You should understand, Captain Xader, that my authority in this situation is relatively limited. You should make your appeal to Admiral Fisher when the invasion has been wrapped up and he is available," Shetty said. "I will arrange with the Admiral's staff for just such a meeting, and you can make requests to him as desired. In the meantime, I can arrange for you to be given confinement in our spare officers' quarters so that you can freshen up. Is there anything else, gentlemen?"



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 08:58pm
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HMS Challenger


Shetty listened to Captain Xader's explaination quietly. He had to complement the man on his courage in coming forward. And he could see the color drain from Forg's face.

"You should understand, Captain Xader, that my authority in this situation is relatively limited. You should make your appeal to Admiral Fisher when the invasion has been wrapped up and he is available," Shetty said. "I will arrange with the Admiral's staff for just such a meeting, and you can make requests to him as desired. In the meantime, I can arrange for you to be given confinement in our spare officers' quarters so that you can freshen up. Is there anything else, gentlemen?"


"Only one thing, sir. If one of our Naval officers happens to arrive in one of your allies's ships, inform us. We don't want any more surprises."

Xader looked at Forg. "Come on, Commodore. Let's rest for a while."

Forg could only sigh.

"Yes, let's."

He then looked at Shetty.

"Thank you. I hope you Anglians make a good decision."



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-25 11:03pm
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Jeziri Plains
Toutaine, The Veil, Sector P-26
9 September 3400



It had been years since Yamia had last seen Stephen's humble little hut, just east of the Northern Lakes - the last bodies of freshwater before the scrublands turned dry and dustry - and she was interested to see it actually had changed a little. He had made it larger and expanded the size of his garden. The "why" was eminently obvious, of course, as he had spent the last 2 years training Nisa to use ESP. She would live mostly with him during the off-seasons, since Yamia and Kimiya were quite capable of maintaining the farm and home in those months, then during planting and harvest she would come home (Stephen had even joined them during the prior planting season due to manpower shortages, and had helped dig a new irrigation canal while he was in Jeziri (made a lot faster when done by someone who could dig channels with the power of his mind).

He stood by her now, waiting patiently for Nisa to return. "You are doing well?", he asked simply.

"I am doing well enough," Yamia sighed. In truth the pain in her heart never went away. It had scarred over, yes, but the constant agonizing void had turned into an ache that only intensified when she dwelled on it. One of the benefits of backbreaking rural drudgery was that Yamia had little energy or time to dwell on Syrandi.

"I have a gift for you," he said. "It will have to wait though, for a moment."

The reason why was the cloud of dust rising in the distance. It drew closer and closer until a distant, lone figure could be made out. Yamia watched it grow bigger until she could sense it was Nisa. She smiled widely as the young woman raced up to them, coming to a stop in a line drawn in the soil about 30 yards in front of the hut.

At age 20, almost 21 now, Nisa had finally stopped growing, and it was a good thing as she already stood at over six feet (she'd gained an inch in the past year alone) and her figure was finally developed. Yamia sometimes mused, with humor, that she'd be sought after by every Acolyte in her Chapter or Cloister if she were in the Order.

She was in a jelin that Yamia had made for her - the jelin being a Hargani tube garment that Humans would consider a cross between a tube top and a sports bra, with a strap around the neck instead of over the shoulders - and shorts that would get her mean stares if they were in town. Out here they were more permissible and showed off her toned, defined legs. Sweat hung over her entire body and, given she had just run around the Northern Lakes - a distance of about 20 kilometers - it was unsurprising to see it.

"Now complete it," Stephen instructed her.

Taking in a breath, Nisa remembered her father's words from when her training began. "Energy is the basis of all ESP. And it is the same, even if you use it differently. It's how you use it that changes the effect. Put the energy into the air and you get flame. Force it to become solid and you can touch an object with your mind. Force it through the ground and you shift the earth. Draw it out of water to get ice, press it into water to get steam. Feel electrical currents to direct them and press energy in and out of them. All of this is within your grasp."

She concentrated and thrust her arms forward. The ground before acted as if a bore were under it, throwing the soil and land upward, creating a trail of upraised soil and land for 10 meters. Panting, Nisa twisted her torso and faced the other way. Her right arm swung out. From it a jet of blue flame erupted, blazing in the air. Her torso twisted again and her left hand reached outward. A crackle of electricity arced in the air for a moment, directed upward. At these sights Yamia hid her apprehensions about teaching the girl the making and manipulation of flames and electricity, instead choosing to appreciate the display of power for what it was; evidence of progression in the Gift.

To top her display of power off, Nisa reached toward a bucket of water. The water flew upward and toward her arms. She manipulated it around her before raising it above her head, her arms stretched upward as well, and making it into ice. After a moment it converted back into water, far cooler than before, and splashed down over her, rinsing off sweat. Can I collapse unconscious now?, she said to them telepathically, conveying deep exhaustion.

There was a definite sign of paternal pride in Stephen's expression as he applauded. Yamia did the same. "She has progressed far," Yamia said to him in a low tone. "You should be proud."

"Nisa's a good learner, but she has a long way to go yet," he answered.

Nisa stumbled up to them. She accepted the bowl of soup her father offered and drank it more than ate it, after which she accepted a flask of water (cooled by her father) and gulped it down before stumbling on to the hut and her cot within. "Is there any reason you called me out here?", Yamia asked. "Beyond showing me Nisa's progress?"

Stephen nodded. He reached into his robes and pulled an object out. "I made this for you."

Yamia accepted it, staring intently at it as she did so. "It can't be..." She flipped a button and a light violet energy beam flashed into existence. She turned it back off and looked up to him. "How?"

"It took me five years to find the parts, scattered around the various starship hulks and forgotten piles of abandoned pirate-left parts around the Plains," Stephen answered. "And I had to use a couple of my spare parts to finish the work. I imagined you'd prefer the lens and crystal to permit purple light and not green."

"It is..." Yamia searched for a word. All things told, the beamsaber wasn't the nicest she'd ever seen. It was not an elegant work of craftsmenship like a skilled Acolyte or an experienced Knight or Knight-Captain might perform in making a saber. Given it was the result of scrounged parts it couldn't be. But she could see it was carefully constructed and probably the best work he'd done. As such, she bowed deeply. "I thank you, Master Hermit."

"'Master' Hermit?" There was an amused look in his eyes.

"An honorrific," Yamia stated. "You'd have to have years more experience to be a real Master, of course."

"So you say," he answered. "Anyway, there's also something else..."

"Yes?", she asked.

"I'd like you to come with me next week to the planetary capital of al-Yasuj," Stephen explained. "I'll have some business to attend there and could use someone to watch my back."

"Of course, I will be honored." Yamia looked back to the hut. "What about Nisa?"

Stephen went to spoke, and then stopped. He smirked. "She's listening in, isn't she?"

Telepathically, yes, was the reply that went through his head, courtesy of Nisa.

"I suspect Kimiya will not approve," Stephen answered, "But I have no objections. If she wants to go, she can."

Thanks Father!

Yamia grinned widely. She could sense herself that there was a reason to this visit Stephen didn't want to let her in on. "Just what is the purpose of this long journey?"

"I will tell you when we get there," he answered, "and when I am sure of what we can do."



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 09:46am
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Almera colony
Corinth province


Vilena brushed another tear away. She has been walking for the last five hours, but still remembered last morning.

Quote:
"It's because of my condition, isn't it? That's why we had to leave home."

Jarisse turned around, pretending to wash her dish. She didn't want her daughter to see the tears.


Her mother didn't have to say anything ; Vilena could feel it was true. She was an albino ; A mutant, freak of nature. Her evey day confirmed that feeling - the people of Corinth shunned and feared her, which was why she preferred to spend time alone, outside the city, staring at the sky. It was also more comfortable, as the sun didn't burn her sensitive skin.

She learned to live with her condition throughout all these years, but yesterday Vilena realized what a terrible burden she was for her mother. If Vilena was never born, Jarrise would still be living in her home village as a respected member of the community. Dad would never have left. They wouldn't have to put up with the general's men and their constant harrassment.

Yes. If Vilena disappeared, her mother would be happy. So she left, as soon as Jarrise went out to work. She'd never return.

She had no plan, beyond going towards the San Dorado hills. What would happen there was anybody's guess: maybe the falling star would be there, and she could make a wish and undo everything that happened. Undo her entire life up to this point. Maybe.

It took her the better part of the day to come close to the hills ; By now, the sun was slowly disappearing beneath the crests. She was never in this area before - most of the time, Vilena sticked to areas she could coved in a few hours and return home. Beyond that, everybody said, lay wild lands infested with raiders and bandits, where even the general's army wouldn't dare to go.

Which was why Vilena froze in terror when she heard voices. Along the hills, it was hard to tell where they were coming from...but these were definitely humans. Men. They weren't hiding, but the echos and distortions caused by rock walls made the words incomprehensible.

Scared, Vilena crawled forward towards what she thought was the source of the sounds. She could swear her heart was audible within miles, but curiosity got the better of her. The voices were getting louder.

She slipped suddenly, releasing a small avalanche of stone and dirt. She froze for a second, trying to figure out if the people she was stalking heard it. Amazingly enough, the voices didn't change.

At all. Not a single note.

Something was odd. What she thought was a conversation was really a droning, monotonous monologue of several male voices, repeating the same sentences over and over. Vilena's pulse accelerated even more...with shaking hands, she resumed her climb. Small creatures scattered all around, their homes disturbed by the small avalanche.

As Vilena neared the ridge the voices were coming from, she noticed the night was no longer dark. A pale, barely noticeable green light subtly illuminated the entire area. It had no source, at least not one immediately noticeable...as if it emanated from the rocks themselves.

Gulping, she stole a glance into the gulch. Inside the small depression, surrounded on most sides by steep rocky walls, several armed men stood, staring at each other. They were all armed, and a vehicle was parked nearby. She looked around and gently brushed a stupendously large beetle aside to get a better look: for a moment, she thought there was another presence in the gulch, but her eyes drifted back to the men standing in the centre.

Vilena watched them for a few minutes. The men mumbled some incomprehensible sentence again and again, the chorus of their voices merged together and seemed to drill deep into the girl's mind. She felt another pulse now - a deep throbbing sensation which made her hands and legs shake. For some reason, she couldn't take her eyes off the surreal scene.

Go. Run away. Now., her subconscious seemed to urge her. But against all reason, she stood up, no longer even trying to hide, and started going down the rock wall.

Suddenly, the girl froze. In a burst of sanity, she started scrambling back up, panicked, jerky moves betraying her primal fear. For a brief moment, all she wanted to do was to get away, to run from that terrible place, as if a single touch of the glowing rock would mean death.

She let herfself scream, but managed to get back up. Rocks and dirt rolled down the slope as she clambered up, grasping jagged rocks with bloodies hands and pushing herself up with skinned knees, leaving a trail of blood in the dirt.

Vilena didn't remember how and when she left the hills. All she knew was that she needed to get back into the city. As fast as possible.

To warn somebody.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 10:02am
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CENTRAL NEWS NETWORK

This is CNN breaking news report!

It has been confirmed that the new Secretaries of War and Internal Security have been appointed to their posts. Cracus Vompey is now Secreatary of War, while Hokay Zatan heads the Center of Internal Security. Both have sworn their oaths to serve the State however they can.

Remember, only CNN can give you news better that anyone! And now we pause!

*commercials a.k.a. propaganda*



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 10:18am
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The Central Times

Budget cuts for the Army?

The new head of the Center of War, Cracus Vompey, commenced his first act as Secretary of War by announcing a budget review on the Centralist Army, arguing that it has become "overstaffed". He demands that the size of the Common, Regular, and Elite Armies be reduced to more "manegable" levels, while the size of the Marines be adjusted to the rising needs of the Navy.

"In this day and age, what is needed are warships. How can you transport a large ground force to an enemy planet when you lack the ships to protect them?"

Army officials were not available for comment.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 11:28am
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Creston, Blake's Landing
The Outback, Sector W-17
6 March 3400



The planet of Blake's Landing was the only known habitable one in Sector W-17. There might be others; nobody knew, since only a single whisker lane from the Gotham-Hiigara Hyperlane extended into the sector - whether there were more whisker lanes was unknown, since every other known part was full of hyper-shoals.

Creston was on the Southern Continent, in the tropical zone, not far from Blakestown, the planetary capital. It was like many worlds in the far corners of the Outback; firmly stuck somewhere between the 21st and 26th Centuries due to a lack of trade and income, overrun with criminals, and with millions of potential victims for them.

A gaggle of such victims, men and women, were being gathered in a building off the spaceport. A jury-rigged Altacaran null field covered the building. The next building over, a pair of young women crouched in readiness. One had a sniper's spotter scope in her hands, the other a long-range particle sniper rifle pointed at the building.

Beads of sweat were gathering on Yuna's forehead, prompting Ashe to reach over and dab it with a cloth. They sensed each other's discomfort easily; they were stuck here, waiting, as the slavers below continued to guard their "cargo". How much longer....? they asked.

We have to confirm the Reprisal's strike team is ready, was the answer, from Namiri Panta, the Loimi Dorei Knight in charge of the mission. Be ready.

I've been ready, Yuna mused irritably. She had her target in sight. And my finger is itching.

There were several minutes of tension that seemed to stretch into hours. Finally there was a rush of air from above. The Harrier from Reprisal was moving into position with its strike force of Royal Marines ready.

Now!

At Namiri's mental command Yuna quickly double-checked her target with Ashe's help. Having done so, she pulled the trigger. An intense burst of particles smashed through the other building's window and struck the Altacaran null field generator directly. Immediately, from within, the slavers took cover. Their captives did also, though quite a few of them were realizing their abilities were returning.

Namiri and her group of Sentinels from Sunelis broke in the back door. Ashe stood to her feet and ignited both her beamsabers. Not to fight but, as it turned out, to protect her lover from the guards on the opposing rooftop, who were quick to respond to the flare of energy with their own fire. Ashe's weapons deflected several shots while Yuna brought raised the gun barrel. She pulled the trigger again and a burst of particle fire literally blew out the heart of one of the men on the other building.

As she re-directed to shoot the other man, it became unnecessary. A burst of pulse gun fire blew him apart. Overhead the sleek shape of a Harrier, the Royal Navy's preferred gunboat for assault landings of Marines, moved into place over the building. Marines in light infiltration power armor dropped down to the roof and quickly entered the building. Yuna brought her gun back down to point at the windows. It was unnecessary; not a single foe poked a head through, and the two young ladies were uninvolved for the rest of the operation.

All in all, it was just another day in the Outback. Or so it seemed...



Tasker Cloister, New Caroline Islands
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
14 March 3400



Zara had just gone through her final checkup with the local doctor on retainer with the Order. Her wound from the assassin's bullet meant for Hilda had healed; she was ready to resume full duty. She headed now to Master Long to inquire as to her assignment. She was wondering if they'd have her take a new apprentice yet or not; she couldn't tell if they were upset over Druni deciding to leave or not, and if they blamed her for it.

For the last two weeks Zara had been lamenting what happened, to a degree. Druni had shown promise and, for all her free-spirited behavior, she was a good person and would have made a fine Sentinel. If only Zara had been more convincing, maybe she could have talked Druni out of her newly-found respect for pyrokinesis instead of directing her on a path out of the Order. Maybe, when it came down to it, Zara wasn't worthy of having an Apprentice.

She entered Master Long's office and found Master Long waiting for her, in holo-conference by hypercom with Master Reynolds. There were slight flickers in Master Reynolds' blue-tinted image due to the distortions caused by distance, though this case wasn't so bad. Zara bowed respectfully. "Masters, I have come as summoned?"

"Sister, it is good to see you are well," Violet said. "The Order is thankful you preserved the life of Queen Hilda."

"Thank you, Master," Zara replied, trying not to dwell on her misery. There was a growing ache in her heart, overpowering at times, on the fact that she would never be with Hilda again; every night Zara soaked her pillow with her tears.

"We have an assignment for you, Sister Zara. A very dangerous one."

"I will go where the Order directs me and trust in the Goddess to preserve me," Zara answered plainly. She tried not to dwell further; the last thing she needed was Master Long sensing those thoughts.

"A week ago several of our Sisters aided the Royal Navy in raiding a slaver warehouse on Blake's Landing," Violet explained. "Despite the fall of Pendleton, there still seems to be a viable market for kidnapped persons in the Outback, and this was one of our many attempts to thwart this."

"There are other states where slaves are desired, even if local governments oppose the practice," Zara mused.

"Yes. But that is beyond our power to deal with. However, this might not be." Violet cleared her throat briefly. "I'm going to leave Sister Jennifer to brief you for now. I don't want this spread on an open hypercom line, even with encryption. Sister Jennifer, if you will please?"

Long nodded and hit a key, which cut the transmission on her end. "During the raid, victims were recovered. And quite surprisingly, almost all of them had ESPer talents," Long explained.

"Girls? The Ebon Blade appreciates taking them, and with Pendleton fallen..."

"We thought that, but no. The slavers' ship had a flight plan registered that would take them Coreward toward the Badlands." Long put her hands together on her desk. "Their destination was the Feelipeens System."

"I am not familiar with that place."

"It is not terribly well known in our region of space, Sister. According to the information we have it is a backward, badly-run system-state dominated by a dictator backed by the Shepistani." Long glowered at mentioning them. The Shepistani and their notorious abuse of, and hatred for, ESPers was a well-known and reviled aspect of their society (which was already bad enough!). "The Umerians also had a few slight interests and influences there, but the Shepistanis are the dominant influence, and it shows with the bloodiness of the dictatorship."

"Who there would want ESPers?", Zara asked. "Is it a front for the Shepistani to gain developed ESPers to run experiments on?"

"Maybe, but we're not sure. It's why we're sending you. You will operate on your own, Sister Zara, without revealing whom you are. You must leave your beamsaber secured and hidden for this mission; firearms are a better choice of weapon," Long pointed out. "We want you to find out everything you can about who is acquiring kidnapped ESPers for slavery or whatever other nefarious purpose they have."

Zara nodded. "Where should I start looking? It's an entire solar system I have to go through."

"Our only indication is a mention in the partially recovered records of the pirates raided at Creston," Long answered. "You should concentrate your early efforts on finding out whatever this 'SHROOM FIGHTER' thing is."

They went over her mission a bit more. Once all private things were said, Long reestablished the line to the Great Cloister and Master Violet. "You are now aware of your mission, Sister?", Violet asked.

"I am, Master," Zara confirmed. "I shall get ready immediately."

"Very well. Go with the Goddess, Sister."

After Zara left, Long looked to Violet with a concerned expression. "Do you realize what we've just done, Master Violet?"

"What, Master Jennifer?"

Long drew in a sigh. "We just gave a woman who wants to die a chance to achieve it."



Once in her room - the room she once shared with Hilda - Zara carefully put her things together. Her eyes flowed with tears from all the memories this room gave her. She couldn't even look at the picture of her and Hilda together sitting on the nightstand.

She had sensed Long's sentiments leaving the mission. This was a suicide mission, or about as close to one as you could get without it being blatant. She was going to a savage and brutal world, near a power that would kill her out of hand simply for what she was, to investigate a criminal connection.

The last time she'd volunteered for this kind of mission, the result had been the worst three days she had ever known. Maybe this time the result would be her death. Which, when Zara thought about it, was perfectly fine. She had only the Order to live for. She'd given her heart to Hilda, her very essence, and she could never do that to another. She was now isolated. Empty. Alone.

She was to take a liner to Andalusia tomorrow, where she would stay at the Delgado Cloister just long enough to wait for her actual flight, under cover identity, to the Feelipeens. Tonight she would take the time to write a message for Hilda, in case she didn't come back. And she knew who to entrust it to.



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 12:17pm
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Offices of the Foreign Intelligence Directorate, Covert Operations Branch
Central Administration Complex, Reisenburg
March 2, 3400


Chief of Covert Operations Alberto Ramirez glowered across his desk at the man on the other side. A powerful null field protected this office, and indeed almost the entirety of the building except for a few screened interrogation rooms, but even so the look in the eyes of the senior Operative the chief was speaking to was a bit intimidating. Without screening, the chief's own modest esper abilities could be overwhelmed by his subordinate's greater and better-trained power of mind; fortunately, Yuri was loyal. But that loyalty was to the state more than to any one man, and Al would be wise to tread lightly with him.

"So let me get this straight, Yuri. One of your men went off his meds, blew a complicated operation by stalking one of the people we'd wanted to bring into it, then came back to the office raving about... something."

"Indeed. As reported, we placed Early into custody for extensive debriefing, along with a course of reconditioning. Unfortunately," he chuckled, "I seem to have trained him too well. He was able to escape custody, procure weapons, and make his escape. He shot his way out through a security checkpoint, and was fairly effective at avoiding the surveillance nets. We have a few images of his escape, but nothing much once he got out of the detainment block, except for a few stills salvaged from damaged cameras.

Image

"By the time pursuit was organized, we'd have had to commandeer SpaceSec assets to take him out, and collateral damage would have been... extreme. Stopping him would have cost us more than letting him go."

Is that true, or is Yuri playing some deeper game? There was no way to be certain.

"How are standard precautions going?"

"Access codes have been changed, of course; the covers Early relied on have been dissolved and reformed. The reconditioning process has proceeded far enough that I doubt he will pose a major security risk as far as sensitive information goes- I saw to that myself. But even if his memory's clean, he took a fair amount of Ops equipment with him on his way out. He's an unpredictable element."

"Understood. I'm going to have everyone who was close to Early subject to a thorough security vetting. We may have to shut down some of his contacts more thoroughly. I'll be using InSec personnel for that, though."

Yuri nodded. The Internal Security teams were loyal only to the branch chief, not to the Operatives' ranks, so it was a natural precaution.

"I see. Personally, I predict that Early will leave the country and not return for the near future. Even given his... instabilities, he has to know we're gunning for him, and his best chance of escaping us is to keep a low profile. That's partly offset by his skill set and compulsions, though; we may well be able to find him again some day just by looking for the right trail of bodies in the right corners of the underworld."

"Yuri, I want it clear that we're not going to try to salvage him again. Early has been a problem child for the last two years, ever since his condition started to outrun his meds. His involvement in the Lakatos incident has been a disaster for us. I've had to do some major ass-covering just to keep higher from asking pointed questions we can't answer- somehow, Infiltration Branch got word, and they're crowing over it. Not without reason, it's a first rate embarassment."

"Oh, I agree, sir. If we ever find Early again, he will cease to be a problem in short order."

Alberto nodded and dismissed the Operative. I just hope Yuri's telling the truth...


Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2010-11-08 08:29pm, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 01:37pm
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Toutaine, The Veil, Sector P-26
19 September 3400


After a two day journey down the tracks and fields of the Samiz River Valley, the handful of skyscrapers and larger field of smaller multistory buildings came into full view over the hill. The bus trip had been fairly uneventful, save for one brave young man who had tried to court Nisa - earning him an appraising fatherly glare from Stephen and an amused giggle from the young woman, who politely declined her would-be suitor. Their wear was more conservative, meeting the customs of the syncretic Abrahamic faith followed by the Toutaini settlers (it was a blend of Christian and Islamic traditions and theology, the result of centuries of religious and social evolution experienced by the Northeast Velerian peoples that were their ancestors). Both Yamia and Nisa wore conservative, fully-covering dresses and blouses (not head-coverings, however, as the Toutaini did not consider such necessary) instead of more comfortable wear; naturally the Hermit was in a traveling robe, this one a brighter hue of brown, with garments below it.

Nisa was looking around in pleasant awe at the bustling city around them. The bus deposited them at a station outside the bazaar, where Toutaini as far away as the mountain villages or the bustling fishing communities along Lake Jaza (where the Samiz River started) peddled crafted items or foods she had never seen. There are so many people!

Yamia smiled. Nisa had only known the sleepy town of Jeziri along with her family homestead. Jeziri barely had a thousand people in its entire area, and the town itself rarely had more than two hundred dwelling in it at any given time. There were now that many people just within a block of where they were walking.

Stay close to me, Nisa, her father instructed the young woman. Though Yamia had long noticed he had almost no capability for direct telepathy, training had given him a psionic link to Nisa that let them communicate that way. A Bond of a sorts, between mentor and student and, it had to be said, father and daughter.

Those thoughts brought her to Syrandi. Yamia made herself stop thinking that before the tears came to her eyes.

As they came out of the bazaar, they ventured near the starport. There weren't many ships there, and most looked run-down and gruff, not surprising since there was little trade with the outside galaxy and most visitors were people laying low from the law in other states, having risked an 18 trip through shoals to get to Toutaine.

But there were exceptions. A row of shining, powerful-looking landing ships. Through the fence the three could see they were all marked with military insignia. Yamia recognized them. "Solarian Star Force ships," she murmured.

There were other establishments nearby. Rowdy calling came from the windows. "You should wait near the door," Stephen instructed them as they stepped through. Inside people in casual duty uniforms, marking them Solarian military personnel, were hooting and hollering at a scene of local girls engaging in belly dancing. Alcohol was being passed freely amongst them and Nisa, for the first time in her life, was subjected to the images and thoughts of a group of men ogling young women like herself, as well as thoughts of what they wanted to do with them. "They're not like the men of the Yildiz," Nisa whispered to Yamia. "They're so..."

"Lustful?", Yamia suggested. "It occurs in the outside galaxy, Nisa, especially amongst young military men who don't nearly spend enough time around women."

"It feels so... rough, what they like to do," Nisa complained. "My mother and Sadik..."

"It depends on the quality of person, though it can be as uncomfortable as it is pleasurable." Yamia sighed forlornly. "Which is why a few of us prefer the touch of another woman."

As the two remained by the door, Stephen stepped up to the bar. There was a Solarian officer there, more concerned with drinking than ogling the belly dancers in their see-through tops. The man's preference was more obvious from the way he looked at the bartender. Upon hearing "Lieutenant?' he turned. "I have a business proposition for you," Stephen began.



The people of Toutaine were governed by an Emirate - Emir Fahar of the Toutai, descendant of the Velerian tribal leader who financed the expedition (with government help) that colonized their world in the first place. The Emir was, in rough terms, a "paternal" autocrat. He had a legislature of representatives from the towns and communities that advised him and provided members to run his government, but ultimately the Emir was the source of political power. In a way, this was a good thing; it meant that the government wasn't sundered into competing interests backed by offworld parties (opposing Solarian corporations, Cevaucians, Pfhor traders, etc.). Of course, if you got on the Emir's bad side, then... it wasn't such a good thing.

Or, as it were, on the bad side of Prince Jabin, one of his advisers, and a man far less paternal toward the Toutaini people.

Prince Jabin had his hands in everything, legal and... not so legal. He owned, personally or through proxies, large tracts of arable land in the countryside. He had his hands in every manufacturing field in the entire Valley (And thus the whole planet) and was quickly consolidating his control of the planet's trade. All of it.

Like, say, the trade in impressionable young women who had aspirations to travel the galaxy and were pretty enough to work off a very inflated cost for getting that chance.

For the moment he was watching one of his establishments entertain Solarian Marines from the USS Antagonist, on the kind of flag-waving visit the Solarian military made to Toutaine every several years. It would be good money and would hopefully fuel the dancing girls and waitresses with more curiosity on the luxuries and people of the galaxy, meaning they would be looking to go to Solaris themselves. As it was, he had business contacts with numerous Solarian ventures on this planet and it always helped to entertain the Solarians when they came.

He was still five minutes away from a meeting with the Vizier Mahmoud when he spotted the figures at the door. Two women, conservatively dressed in the style of the Yildiz, but so very... interesting. How many alien women do we even have here? Jabin pondered at seeing the purple-skinned, long-eared female.

Jabin, like many elite Toutaini, had a harem. Currently it was at twelve women. Beautiful, gorgeous young women, none of them older than thirty-five (among many things lacking on Toutaine was anti-aging treatments, here people still aged naturally save the most elite of the planet who could afford to import the anti-agamic treatments) who served his every whim and fetish. One would be forgiven if they presumed they were sufficient to absorb all of his attentions. The truth was that having a surplus of something sometimes simply stoked the hunger for more. In this case, Jabin was smitten almost instantly.

Those graceful, long alien ears. Her rich colored skin, her graceful body... and the girl with her! So tall, so lovely! Jabin rubbed at his chin, pondering how to proceed. He wanted them.

And what Prince Jabin wanted, he got.



Unaware that the second-most powerful man in the planet was at the moment scheming to take them for himself, Yamia and Nisa looked on at the scene as the dancers, wearing see-through bras, continued to dance and gyrate to the hoots and whistles of the men in the crowd. "That is sinful," Nisa muttered. It went against everything she'd been raised to believe was appropriate. Women were supposed to be modest about their bodies, to preserve themselves for their husbands, not to...

One religion's sin is another religion's boon, Yamia pointed out. Among my people, dancing like this is done at festivals to commemorate the coming of spring.

Surely you didn't?!

No, I was in the Order, and I had converted to the Church of the Eternal Goddess - a Lushan faith - while my people, the Hargani, still worship the Pantheon of the All-High. The Samai Dance is done to call down the blessings of Pama, Goddess of Life and Fertility. A thought came to Yamia. If Nisa disapproved of this, she could only imagine how Nisa would feel toward the usual end of the Samai Dances...

Your people are Pagans?! was Nisa's disgusted thought.

The Hargani, yes. The Lushan, no. Most Dorei are monotheists. The Sindai nations, including my native Hargano, are holdouts.

Their telepathic conversation ended when Stephen walked up and gestured for them to follow him out. "Did you get what you came for?", Nisa asked.

"Not entirely," Stephen answered. He looked to Yamia. "Which is why I couldn't tell you."

Yamia nodded. She had already thought of it herself - having the Solarians take her home. "They said no," she lamented. Don't let the pain come, I can't afford to weep now..

"I'm afraid the commander of the Antagonist is not a very understanding man for people in your situation," Stephen confirmed. "And it will most likely be another four or five years before another Solarian military ship arrives."

"But you said 'Not entirely'." Nisa took his arm. "You must have accomplished something."

"I did," he confirmed. "The Lieutenant was kind enough to accept a... generous preemptive compensation to transmit a message for me once they leave the shoals around Toutaine."

"A message? To whom?"

It wasn't often Nisa saw the kind of amused, even impish grin now on her father's face. "A man of wealth and taste," Stephen answered simply. "Now let's go home. It's a long two days back to Jeziri."



That night, while Nisa slept peacefully on her father's arm in the rocking bus, Jabin dreamed of her and Yamia as he waited for one of his many informants to give him a report. A couple of his girls, Anahita and Selvi, attempted to gain his attention, but even kissing on one another did not distract him as the other man spoke. "We found which bus they left on, Your Highness," the man said while kowtowing.

"To the North, of course," he answered. The Yildiz, one of the most religious of the Toutani tribes, were concentrated there.

"Yes. They could be as far north as Jeziri."

Jabin scowled. Along the delta of the Samiz and the regions where the Yildiz dwelt, there was something on the order of a quarter million people spread out through around nearly 200 communities and four regional hub cities for the transport rails. It could take weeks to find where they lived, even months.

But he had contacts in the planetary army and elsewhere. Be it weeks or months, he would have his prizes...



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 02:53pm
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Pendleton, The Outback

The Kuun-Lan arrived serenely over Pendleton, speeding straight for the sector the Anglian fleet was. Along the way, there was an exchange of messages, regarding an important emissary of the Centrality which happened to be in the Hiigaran ship. Soon, a small shuttle was seen exiting the Kuun-Lan, making a beeline for the Dauntless, Admiral Fisher's flagship.

The shuttle entered the Dauntless's hangar, and landed on the hangar floor. The shuttle's door opened to reveal a rather nervous Vice-Admiral Guring Kordis.

In front of him was none other than Admiral Fisher himself.

Kordis spoke first. "So you are Admiral Fisher, I presume?"



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 03:42pm
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Almera colony
Corinth, Pelania, Presidental palace


General Corello was an unquestioned ruler of Pelania: one of Almera's many countries, and not a particularly rich and grand one at that. But a dictator ruling with an iron fist could still afford the luxuries of life, as long as he was cunning, strong and charismatic enough to control his enemies and stay off the radar of those more powerful than him.

That last thing has unfortunately always been a problem for Corello. For how desolate and unimportant his nation was, the damned Algeirans sure were very interested in its internal affairs.

"This information is strictly confidential, general", the Algeiran colonel - a mere colonel! - reminded him, general and president for life, "It must only be divulged on a need-to-know basis."

Corello was a pretty patient man, but even he could barely tolerate an Algeiran barging into his office late at night and demanding an immediate audience, "Get to the point", he growled groggily, leaning against his desk. He slept for what, two hours tonight?

"Twenty hours ago, our space monitoring assets have detected an object entering the atmosphere...", the colonel began. Corello slammed his fist into his expensie oaken desk, "You barge into my office over a damned meteor?!", he screamed at the impertinent bastard, "This is obnoxious, even for you!"

"General...", the colonel sighed, "...I said 'object'. Not a meteor.", he let the words hang in the air for some time. He studied the general's dumfounded expression.

"What?", Corello finally managed to spit out

"An object. An infrared satellite detected it maneuvering before entering the atmosphere. We traced the heat plume as it passed through, and believe it landed somewhere near Corinth."

The general stole a glance at the city visible outside his window, "What are you saying? Aliens, landing in my country?"

"It is possible. The object definitely wasn't launched from Almera: not even the Zenobians could hide a launch from us.", the colonel declared smugly, "So it had to come from outer space. And it's powered, so there is strong evidence to believe it to be an exoplanetary spacecraft."

It took a few minutes for the general to process that information. His grogginess was gone: he began pacing around his office, thinking, before finally saying, "What do they want?"

"This is what we're going to figure out. With your premission, our government will start flying in special military personnell specialized in this sort of thing. I will need you to sweep the countryside for a possible landing site...", the colonel extracted a map from his attache case, "We calculated the possible landing site to be locaten within this area."

Corello took a glance at the map and froze in terror, "San Dorado hills? But that's barely twenty miles from Corinth! Right on our doorstep!"

"Then I suggest you mobilize your forces immediately."

"When can your men be here?"

"The first aircraft will be landing in the morning."

Image

Altea military airbase
Pelania, Corinth


With a thundering roar of jet engines, the first heavy Algeiran transport touched down on the barely adequate airstrip of the Pelanian capital. It was a close-run thing, landing here: the airplane had to immediately reverse thrust and turned from the runway with way more speed than the pilot was comfortable with, before coming to a mostly ungentle stop next to the biggest hangar of the entire airport: which wasn't saying much - the plane would never fit inside. But it would be adequate to host the transport's cargo and their equipment.

As soon as the plane was secured and powered down, its rear ramp came down. The loadmasters released the restraints and the first sleek, dangerous-looking armored vehicle rolled down onto the tarmac. Something in its shape made general Corello's men guarding the perimeter feel uneasy: as if it was built to hunt very nasty and dangerous things, and thus its presence here meant such things roamed their country.

A line of well-equipped soldiers followed the tank. They did not exchange a single glance with the guards, instead going straight to the hangar, carrying their myriad equipment.

But worst of all, there were more transports touching down. And at least a dozen circled around above the little airstrip, waiting for their chance to land and unload their cargo.

Algeirans were never good news. So many of them in one place were pretty much the end of the world, as much as Corello's men were concerne: Some of them would not report for duty tomorrow, chosing instead to desert and return to their homes.

Image

Corinth, downtown

"Mother!", Vilena cried, running through the door, "Mother!", she shouted again when she heard no answer. She checked all the room of their little house, before running outside. She almost collided with Jarisse. Her mother held her steady, and before Vilena could say anything, she felt a sting of pain in her cheeck as her mother slapped her.

"Damn it, Vilena! How many times will I have to tell you not to do that!"

Vilena looked at ther mother in shock, holding her cheeck. She felt like crying, and for a moment, wanted to run away again. Then she remembered what she saw in the hills, "I'm sorry!", she cried, "I promise I'll never run away again!"

It was Jarrise's turn to be shocked. Her daughter never admitted her little outings were wrong: but one look into Vilena's eyes told her something happened. With a chill in her heart, Jarisse dragged her daughter inside and hurriedly checked her face and body for wounds.

"What happened? Are you hurt? Were you attacked, or...", she didn't say what she meant...and didn't have to.

"No, mother, I'm fine. But we must leave."

"What?", Jarisse froze and checked Vilena's forehead for signs of fever, "What are you saying?"

"I've been to the San Dorado Hills, mother, and I saw...something, I don't know...", Vilena quickly described the surreal scene she saw last night, "...I don't know what it was, but it's dangerous. I barely resisted myself long enough to run away!"

Not knowing what to think of it, Jarisse had her daughter sit down and prepared her some hot herbal extract, "Calm down. You were upset, you probably imagined it all...", she tried to convince herself more than Vilena. Her daughter was many things, but she rarely outright made things up. Not things so...bizarre, anyway.

"No! I know what I saw!"

"All right, let's say it was so...", Jarisse began cautiously, "...why should we leave? If anything, we'll be more vulnerable outside the city, the general's men can protect us here..."

"It were the general's men who stood around muttering to themselves! Please, mother", Vilena was on the verge of tears, "We must leave. Something evil is coming here!"

"Vilena, we have nowhere to go.", Sarisse pointed out, "If we leave, we'll die. Both of us. I don't say I don't believe you...", she didn't, obviously, "...but we really are safer here."

"Mother, please...please...", Vilena pleaded, tugging on her mother's skirt the way she did when she was a little girl, "...please believe me...please..."

Jarisse didn't know what to do...she's never seen Vilena so insistent on anything. Whatever happen in those hills, must've shaken her really bad. But there really was nothing they could do and nowhere they could go.

"Just...here, lie down...rest for a bit, and we'll talk later.", she did the only thing she could. After Vilena finally fell asleep in her corner of the house, Sarisse buried her face in her hands and began to sob quietly.



Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.


Last edited by PeZook on 2010-09-30 04:58am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 04:17pm
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Pendleton, The Outback

The Kuun-Lan arrived serenely over Pendleton, speeding straight for the sector the Anglian fleet was. Along the way, there was an exchange of messages, regarding an important emissary of the Centrality which happened to be in the Hiigaran ship. Soon, a small shuttle was seen exiting the Kuun-Lan, making a beeline for the Dauntless, Admiral Fisher's flagship.

The shuttle entered the Dauntless's hangar, and landed on the hangar floor. The shuttle's door opened to reveal a rather nervous Vice-Admiral Guring Kordis.

In front of him was none other than Admiral Fisher himself.

Kordis spoke first. "So you are Admiral Fisher, I presume?"


The figure raised his eyebrow. "Actually, Sir, I'm Captain Beresford," the man answered. "If you would please follow me, Sir?"

Kordis was escorted through the ship to a conference room. It was nicely furnished, with a table of fine wood made by a talented craftsman. The chairs were velvet lined and a drink-dispenser was in the wall to the side, with settings for tea and coffee. At the head of the table a tall man - taller than anyone in the room in fact - was present, with Forg and Xader also seated. "Admiral, this is Admiral Kordis," Beresford announced.

"Very well. You are dismissed, Captain."

Beresford nodded and left, leaving Fisher with Kordis and the other two. A pair of Royal Marines in light powered armor stood at the far end of the room as well, leaving Kordis no doubt he was in "enemy" hands... if he thought of the Anglians as foes anyway.

"Admiral, I hope you didn't mind your long trip through the Gap," Fisher remarked. "I think it best if we got down to business. Your people are currently in our custody pending a final report on who opened fire on our Marines during the boarding of the Datton. Your man threatened to wipe out his entire crew, and ten innocent people, if his ship was boarded, and apparently his attempt was not made solely because one of your Black Berets opened fire on the boarding parties first. I require an immediate explaination from you on all facets of this operation and to why your forces have caused injury and near-death to some of my Marines."



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 04:39pm
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Steve wrote:
Force Lord wrote:
Pendleton, The Outback

The Kuun-Lan arrived serenely over Pendleton, speeding straight for the sector the Anglian fleet was. Along the way, there was an exchange of messages, regarding an important emissary of the Centrality which happened to be in the Hiigaran ship. Soon, a small shuttle was seen exiting the Kuun-Lan, making a beeline for the Dauntless, Admiral Fisher's flagship.

The shuttle entered the Dauntless's hangar, and landed on the hangar floor. The shuttle's door opened to reveal a rather nervous Vice-Admiral Guring Kordis.

In front of him was none other than Admiral Fisher himself.

Kordis spoke first. "So you are Admiral Fisher, I presume?"


The figure raised his eyebrow. "Actually, Sir, I'm Captain Beresford," the man answered. "If you would please follow me, Sir?"

Kordis was escorted through the ship to a conference room. It was nicely furnished, with a table of fine wood made by a talented craftsman. The chairs were velvet lined and a drink-dispenser was in the wall to the side, with settings for tea and coffee. At the head of the table a tall man - taller than anyone in the room in fact - was present, with Forg and Xader also seated. "Admiral, this is Admiral Kordis," Beresford announced.

"Very well. You are dismissed, Captain."

Beresford nodded and left, leaving Fisher with Kordis and the other two. A pair of Royal Marines in light powered armor stood at the far end of the room as well, leaving Kordis no doubt he was in "enemy" hands... if he thought of the Anglians as foes anyway.

"Admiral, I hope you didn't mind your long trip through the Gap," Fisher remarked. "I think it best if we got down to business. Your people are currently in our custody pending a final report on who opened fire on our Marines during the boarding of the Datton. Your man threatened to wipe out his entire crew, and ten innocent people, if his ship was boarded, and apparently his attempt was not made solely because one of your Black Berets opened fire on the boarding parties first. I require an immediate explaination from you on all facets of this operation and to why your forces have caused injury and near-death to some of my Marines."


Kordis sighed. This was going to be very difficult.

"Admiral, I will be blunt. Their orders were to rescue the ten citizens and to prevent them being, if I may say this, "contaminated" by the prescence of your people, or any others, in fact. Apparently our top leadership feared that, once they saw foreigners beyond what the propaganda said, they would be less inclined to support the Centrality. I know it sounds insane, but when it comes to potential dissent the Party can get incredibly nervous. The fact that the Datton's crew risked serious punishment in the case of failure did not help matters. And our punishments are very much terrible. Believe me, the Navy opposed this mission and argued that the citizens were lost to us, but the President insisted that if we did nothing, our already tattered reputation would suffer even more. He even strongarmed the naval chiefs to send an entire fleet near the B-A Gap, just because. I won't be surprised if he's suffering from internal political fallout as a result."

"As for the Black Berets, I'm not surprised they chose to resist. While the team was nominaly under Forg's control, in reality they operate separately, and if Forg had refused to knock out his ship, it's likely they would simply kill him and everyone else on the vessel to do so. Add to this the fanatism cultivated into them and you can barely talk them into desisting their mission. I'm even surprised one of them chose not to fight. Is there something I must know?"



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-26 11:16pm
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The End of Intolerance
Santo Domingo de Trujillo, Nueva Hispaniola
Wild Space beyond the Sovereignty frontier
4 March 3400


In the criminal underworld of Santo Domingo de Trujillo, Intolerance Brennan stood out like a sore thumb. Despite being an anthropologist, she knew precisely nothing about other people's cultures; while she could regurgitate pieces of trivia well enough to satisfy her professors back in the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth, she found it impossible to figure out the true meanings of those pieces of trivia and put them into practice. This, combined with her utter lack of social skills, meant that she had few real comrades among the various criminal elements; even her precious few allies and collaborators found her insufferable and obnoxious.

Needless to say, with all the people demanding her blood, Intolerance was extremely fortunate that she was able to survive in the K-Zone for as long as she did. Her luck was inevitably bound to run out, though, which it finally did when Nick Angle and Denver Butterbean chose to make her the first target of their clean-up operation. It was a trivial matter to get detailed information on her current whereabouts, to say the least; while there were plenty of people with a vested interest in eliminating Intolerance, none were actually willing to go through with it themselves for any number of reasons, thus leaving the actual job open for a pair of outsiders like Nick and Denver to finish.

Even though Intolerance tried her best to remain one step ahead of her many enemies by moving from one hiding place to another, astute observers would be very quick to note that there was a distinct pattern to her supposedly "random" movements. Needless to say, she was quite shocked to find Nick and Denver already waiting for her at one of her safehouses in what passed for Santo Domingo de Trujillo's suburbs.

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"You know, you're not really fooling anyone," Nick said as soon as he saw Intolerance open the front door. "It really didn't take that long to piece together the pattern of your movements. You need to be less predictable. Too bad you won't be around long enough to actually learn that."

"If your theatrics are supposed to scare me, you got the wrong woman, boys," Intolerance sneered. "Who sent you after me, anyway? Are you here on a 'divine' mandate from the Bitch Empress, or are you just a pair of two-bit Solarian pigs?"

"Quite frankly, who we are and why we're here is irrelevant," Nick said calmly. "Hell, we're not even here for the bounty. All that matters is...you're already dead."

"Is that so?" Intolerance retorted as she drew a Colt M2411 from her belt, aimed at Nick...

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...and pulled the trigger, only to have the gun explode in her hands. The last things that went through her head were her shock at no longer having any hands, her regret at buying a garage-built M2411 knockoff instead of shelling out the extra cash for an actual quality reproduction, and a bullet from Nick's vintage Taurus PT368 caseless pistol after he double-tapped her in the chest.

"Actually, you think we should just claim the bounty anyway?" Denver asked as he looked down on Intolerance's bloodied, handless corpse. "A little extra spending money never hurt anyone."

"Already one step ahead of you, Denny," Nick replied as he took a picture of Intolerance's face with the 3D camera on his wristwatch. The two men then departed from the house, the satisfaction of one less scumbag in Wild Space their reward; the bounty on Intolerance Brennan's head would just be a bonus.



Not long after Nick and Denver left the scene, the crime scene investigators of the Santo Domingo de Trujillo Police Department arrived, as they were obligated to do after every murder reported in the city. "Well, I'll be damned, it's Intolerance Brennan," one of the CSIs remarked. "Looks like somebody finally grew the balls to deal with her after all. So, what do you make of all this, H?"

The leader of the SDdTPD CSIs, Lieutenant Horatio Lame, briefly looked over Intolerance's corpse before giving his reply. "We can only hope..." he said as he put his sunglasses back on, "...that this is really the end of Intolerance in our fair city."

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YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH



I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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Phantasee: Don't be a dick.
Stofsk: What are you, his mother?
The Yosemite Bear: Obviously, which means that he's grounded, and that she needs to go back to sucking Mr. Coffee's cock.

"d-did... did this thread just turn into Thanas/PeZook slash fiction?" - Ilya Muromets

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-27 01:09pm
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Location: London, england
Chamarran Hierarchy space, primary fleet base

The operation was both simultaneously without fanfare and at the same time collossal like nothing that had been done since the early days of the Hierarchy. Over the next several days thousands of tons of supplies and ordinance arrived and was stowed before being loaded onto the vessels of the arriving battlegroups. The base saw over those days the arrival of all the battlegroups of the Hierarchy except the second which was already committed to other endeavours. And then, when all was prepared, they set to space. Their direction of travel, eastwards.
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Course outline: loop through the southern frontier to avoid pfhor territory then head for sector u29.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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Last edited by Darkevilme on 2010-09-27 01:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-27 01:12pm
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FUCKING DICK-STABBER!
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Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
Co-written with Simon Jester

With renewed patriotic zeal Spozavik got up, put on his shoes, and wore a freonic dinner jacket to keep himself cool in unbragulanly human temperatures. Then with Gryza at his side, he went down to have dinner. Now he was ready for the most formidable Dr. Chernov.

PRIME CITY, REISENBURG, Umeria

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The Sunset Reis was one of the classiest places in Prime City, opulent and extravagant, very much unlike the typically pragmatic and practical sensibilities of Umerian society. But almost nothing in Umeria was without pragmatism and practicality, for even the indulgent design of the Sunset Reis had a function - which was to entertain and suitably impress Umeria's guests and cater to their own opulent and extravagant sensibilities. Of course, these were much unlike the typically pragmatic and practical sensibilities of the Umerian society, save for a few notable exceptions in the Umerian GINI, like some members of the rare 'private enterprise' species, and those of the government in the habit of slyly moving a few decimal points here and there (and though these also belonged to an endangered species, the government didn't bother with conserving them).

Diplomatic trade liaison Dryznyl Shpechtkov and his lovely assistant Gryza Grbychyov arrived at the Sunset Reis. The place had a great view of the sunset over the mountains to the west from a hundred meters up. They were lucky to have made it in time to catch it. The dying orange-red sunlight splayed out over the Prime City acropolis of acrologies, reflecting over the gleaming chrome and anodized aluminum buildings in a stunning sight. Well, a punily stunning sight compared to the mightily stunning sight of the great Bragulescape of hard-edged grey bragcrete buildings, towering smokestacks, endless factories, and overhanging storm clouds of ominousity. But still, quite nice, and a little bit impressive. A little bit. Maybe. Spozavik wasn't quite sure of what to make of it. Was it even... romantic?

SNAP

He spun around with the speed of paranoid reflexes, but to his relief only found Gryza snapping a photo with a polaroid camera she had produced out of nowhere. She smiled as the camera spat out the polaroid photo of Spozavik staring out at the sunset with a pondering look. But seeing it made his blood freeze. If other IBGV operatives saw such emotionality in him, that may put his emotional structural integrity in question, it may even be grounds for a thorough ideological review. The prospects of that was horrifying. Why on Bragule had Gryza taken that... ?!

"Don't worry, I won't tell." Gryza teased him, poking her tongue out. "I'll keep it for safekeeping. You have to trust me."

"I... uh..." Spozavik sputtered. This was unexpected. He began doublethinking so hard that he was on the verge of triplethinking, an ideologically commendable task that was nonetheless dangerous and discouraged for the doublethinker's own sake. He wondered what would happen. If he said no, would that undermine the mission and their relationship as co-agents? Was Gryza even an IBGV agent? Why would an IBGV agent do such a thing? If she wasn't one, then why would a non-IBGV agent do such a thing? Was she an agent of some other agency aside from the IBGV? Was this a ploy by Gryznk? Was he being tested, as he was in Rygnskrgnvk?

But what if he said yes? What if he trusted her.

Gryza solved that when she went over and stood beside him, leaned on his shoulder, held her hand with the camera out and snapped a picture of both of them. The camera spat out a polaroid that showed the stern consternipitated look on his face, while displaying her own mischievous expression.

"Oh, don't worry, you can have one too!" Gryza handed the picture to Spozavik.

"But why?" was all Spozavik could utter feebly.

"Why not?" she beamed at him. Then she brought up her camera, which made Spozavik cringe and subtly turn away from the thing's lenses. "Besides, it's my first time on a foreign assignment. I'd like to keep some remembrances, you know."

"I... see." Spozavik clearly didn't. He felt so confused at the moment.

"You should try to relax a little, sir." Gryza commented as she focused her camera and began taking pictures of other things that didn't have Spozavik's face on it. Subtly, Spozavik avoided the camera's line of sight and also used his IBGV training to evade all shiny surfaces that might reflect his face off them. "You're so tense, even I can see it. Just relax."

"Ah, yes. I'll try. I will." Spozavik remembered to breathe. He wondered what had gotten into himself, what was happening to him. He was a trained IBGV agent, a professional. Was working outside the Koprulu Zone for so long finally taking its toll on him? Was he getting out of practice? What would happen if he had to face off against CEID spies and Byzantine Inquisitors, would he even have a chance in his current state? This was no good. He knew he had to shape up, knew he had to get his shits together. So Spozavik straightened himself, regained his composure, and reached out with his paw. "After all, we're going out to dinner with these Umerians. It just wouldn't do to perspire in front of all these humans now, would it?"

Gryza took his paw with hers.

"Of course not, sir." Gryza smirked amusedly at his sudden change of demeanor. Then she gestured towards the doors of the Sunset Reis. "Shall we?"

"Surely." Spozavik smiled. "Let's go and have some fun."




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The second they entered the Sunset Reis they were greeted by a small group of journos, who immediately began taking pictures of them. The first-ever diplomatic mission by Bragule to Umeria made for quite a piece of news and both the government-run and private medias longed to get a scoop on this most interesting development. Koprulu Zone affairs was quite perplexing to the rest of the galaxy, and even in Umeria many wondered if these strange Bragulans were as bad as the Sovereignty war movies and holo-shows made them out to be.

By now, Spozavik had gotten used to the journo news drones that hovered around them and took videos and pictures. He was still cautious, but he comforted himself in the fact that these things resembled the ubiquitous drones used back home in the Bragulan Star Empire. The Bragulan drones would float around with their rotors doing overt surveillance, going everywhere and watching everyone outside and even inside their own homes, going so far as to peek into windows. Unlike subtle and covert surveillance like wiretaps and wall-ears and wall-eyes, the swarms of drones together with the omnipresent telescreen conveyed a message that 'BROTHER BEAR BIG BYZON' was watching the populace, thus discouraging ideological incorrectness if not defeating it outright. Many drones even came with psychokinetic energy (PKE) meters and ectopasm sensors to detect any psionic activities, and should any unauthorized usage be detected, along with any other form of ideological impurity, they could send in the gun-drones or activate automatic K-bolters, or unleash the dreaded BragHacks with their meat-clever rotor blades to non-lethally suppress any dissident aggression.

The hovering camera drones also reminded Spozavik of the time he was in Altacar, where unlike the Umerians their journos were far less respectable with their tabloids and paparazzis - as he had the misfortune of realizing. Some of the Altacarian tabloids had the habit of commenting on the weights of various VIPs, up to and including Bragulan diplomats. That had caused quite a ruckus and the Bragulan Embassy of Altacar had to go so far as to make a public address stating that unlike humans with their laziness and propensity to stack disgusting quantities of blubbers despite being unable to hibernate, Bragulan girths were due to their superior Bragulan musculatures and whatever fats they had were also used during hibernation. That thought made Spozavik a little bit conscious.

A journo drone flew behind him and took a picture of his behind.

"Does, uh... does this seem kind of tight?" Spozavik wondered out loud. It was an honest question, was his freonic dinner jacket too tight?

"Shows off your backside." Gryza commented inattentively. A camera drone took a shot at her, but she retaliated by using her polaroid on it. " Hey, did you see the chandelier? It's hovering."

"What's the point of that, I wonder?" Spozavik had seen one of those before, when he was undercover as a diplomat on some wilderspace world near the Byzantine Imperium. He remembered trying to clout an insufferably arrogant Byzantinian noble's face off, because the Byzantinian had said something rude or something, but the Byzantinian turned out to be a posthuman and his face had somehow refused to come off. Unhurt, the Byzantinian ended up challenging Spozavik to a duel... with powerswords! Only one of them lived to tell the tale though, since no mercy was the mark of a great Bragulan.

"Oh, mangos!" Gryza said as she saw a server-robot with a tray full of mangos. She quickly snatched one and began nibbling on it.

"I mean, I see how they did it. I just ain't gettin' the why." Spozavik went on, still going on about the chandelier. If the IBGV ever attacked the place, the first thing they would do would be to neutralize the power grid, and a hovering chandelier without power would stop hovering and fall and crush people underneath it. So, it was a good thing for the IBGV if more human establishments had hovering chandeliers, so they could fall and crush more people underneath them.

Around them were humans in all sorts of attires, fashionable ones too, he could tell (because IBGV training included detailed files on human fashion, in order to blend into human conversations and thus better able to insult insecure humans with self-image issues on their choice of clothing, for such was the inferiority and superficiality of vain human concepts, and also because stupid clothes made humans burn easier in nuclear fire). Based on their clothings, he identified several subspecies of humans, such as Frenches and what he presumed to be opium-addicted Tianguomen. There were also Moxli prowling around, one of them was tapping his toe-claw impatiently, perhaps waiting for his date. A Kipakt was seated with some humans, which made for an awkward scene since the Kipakt was a huge dinosaurianoid while the puny humans were puny, and human. The Kipakt's soup bowl was large enough for humans to bathe in. It also had living fishies which the Kipakt slurped up and savored with lip-smacking delight. The Kipakt was also fashionably dressed.

"These adorable humans and dinosaurians have the most beautiful dresses." Gryza said, then she looked down at her own dress - a freonic blouse made out of lightweight bulletproof fibers and with some nice embroidery, along with a plain flakproof skirt. She beamed. "And so do I. How 'bout that?"

"Yeah, well, just be careful. We cheated Badger out of good money to buy that frippery, and you're supposed to make me look respectable." Spozavik joked. Badger was one of his few friends in the Bragulan Embassy at Altacar, with a black-and-white fur scheme similar to Agent Bragga's (though Badger was born that way, and didn't have his hair strangely change color all of a sudden like Bragga), and thanks to him and his inferiority in Koprulu Zone Rules poker, Spozavik ended up with enough Altacarian pounds to buy some commodities when they were preparing for their trip to Umeria.

"Yes, sir, Mister Dryznyl Shpechtight-Pants." Gryza shot back flippantly. "Oh, hey, there's Dr. Chernov!"

"Where?" Spozavik looked around. It was hard to find him, all the humans looked the same to him! If only Chernov had a sash to denote lordhood, it would've done a good job.

"Over there." Gryza pointed, discreetly, since pointing directly was rude to humans since to a puny human a pointing Bragulan looked too much like a Bragulan trying to strike with its paws to maim someone's face off.

"Ah, yes, there." Spozavik finally spotted him. Dr. Chernov was grayer than the rest of the humans.

"Yes, there." Gryza nodded. "Let's go over."





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"A toast to our distinguished guests and new friends, from the Koprulu Zone." Dr. Chernov raised his glass, and everyone toasted, clanging glasses together and so forth. The sound of glass hitting glass made a terrible noise for Spozavik, but it was a human tradition or custom and so for politeness' sake, he did so too.

Ever the gracious host, Dr. Maxim Chernov welcomed the two Bragulans and introduced them to the humans with them at their table. Though they could not be any more out of place, Spozavik and Gryza nonetheless greeted the assembled humans and then made themselves comfortable. Spozavik couldn't remember all the human names, they sounded so strange and alien, with difficult to pronounce words like 'John' and 'Bob' and so on. At least 'Maxim Chernov' was easier on the Bragulan tongue. It didn't help that the other humans also looked all the same, and only Dr. Chernov's grayness and oldness stood out, so Spozavik only paid attention to the Doctor and pretty much didn't mind the others too much.

The humans didn't seem to be eager to strike up a conversation either. Perhaps the other humans were not quite as smooth elocutors as Dr. Chernov, who was after all the chief diplomat in a nation with a government system primarily based on academic meritocracy (which meant that Chernov probably got to his post through actual ability, rather than through the fatness which most humans tended to rely on). Possibly, they might have gotten whiff of the Bragulan's reputation of being quite a grizzly nation, exceptional even by the standard of the Koprulu Zone, and that made them averse to talking to a representative of such a regime. Or maybe unlike Dr. Chernov, with his extensive diplomatic background and general cool demeanor, the other humans were discomfited by having two enormous bear-aliens (actually one huge brown bear alien, and another smaller red panda-ish alien) around with them for dinner. Somehow, for some reason, Spozavik slightly suspected that Bragulans made humans a little bit uneasy in their presence, but it was only a hunch.

Meanwhile, bronto-steaks arrived. Many of the humans had ordered French cuisine, being better suited to their palates. But Spozavik himself had ordered the bronto-steaks, having enjoyed the bronto-burgers he had earlier in the Xenu Spacelines space plane. Now he savored the meats, and it was even better. Even greater. A truly worthy dinosaurianoids. He told the snooty human waiter of the French subspecies, the maître d’ if he recalled the term right, to send his compliments to the chef. That seemed to irk the snooty French waiter, for Spozavik did not know that the kitchen was run by two staffs, the French ones who made the salads and the cheeses, and a small crack-team of moxli velociraptorian dinosauroid cooks who specialized in prpearing the meats. Their culinarily carnivorous carnosaurian natures made them most able to bring out the very best in meat dishes, with their secret food preparation techniques that even the arrogant French top chefs coveted jealously (while they squirmed in fear at their velociraptorian wormkates).

As they ate, Spozavik ended up pretty much continuing his previous discussion with Dr. Chernov.

"So, Dr. Chernov, there was one thing I had meant to mention earlier, but did not get round to. As we explained, we would like to set up a Bragulan embassy in Umeria." Spozavik mentioned this off-handedly, but it was in fact quite an important issue. His assessment of the Umerians in general, their society and government as a whole, led him to believe that they were sensible humans all-around, mild-mannered quite like the Altacarians. They relied on their keenly developed sciences and logics, which made them fairly understandable even to the literally inhuman minds of the Bragulans. If they were understandable, they were workable with. If they were far, far away from Bragulan territory, that even made them more workable with. Ironically, despite being un-Bragulan in every sort of way, the Umerians seemed to be one of the least offensive human nations in the galaxy. Strangely, the Shepistanis were very Bragulan in almost every sort of way, and yet also seemed to be the least offensive human nation in the galaxy by virtue of being the most offensive nation to the other humans. Both Umeria and Shepistan were neighbors, and both were rivals. It was a paradox, a conundrum, a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

"Yes, and we will be happy to receive your embassy." Dr. Chernov gave a not-creepy smile. But still, Spozavik was creeped out. Because while Dr. Chernov was being non-creepy, the rest of the humans seemed to have forgotten the memo and at that good news, they also smiled at the Braguans but in doing so bared their human fangs. Perhaps it was the awkwardness of sitting with the Bragulans that made the other humans smile even bigger. No matter. Spozavik smiled as well and bared his fangs. The bronto steak was medium rare, and was quite bloody, so there was a reddish tinge to the rows of canines and bicuspids in his jaws.

"There is, however, one problem." Spozavik continued after the other humans were made uncomfortable at the sight of a bear with bloodstained fangs. Dr. Chernov, who despite being a puny human seemed to have a not-puny brain, looked like he actually got the gist of what was going on. He looked amused at the exchange of smiles and seemed to be at ease, despite the apparent discomfort of the others.

He, Chernov, raised one of his eyebrows. Spozavik had another irrelevant thought: Strange that an unusually hairless example of a ridiculously hairless race would have such thickly furred eyebrows. What are they for?

But the Technarch asked Spozavik a simple question. "Yes?"

"Our embassies tend to be... exceptionally well-fortified." Spozavik explained. The embassies were, after all, homes away from home for Bragulan agents, and thus were well-fortified to resemble Bragule - which was the well-fortified home of the Bragulan species, the reinforced armor bosom from whence they all came from. The bosom of Bragule would never be made to bleed, and the Bragulan race would never be weaned of its nourishing warmth.

"As on Altacar?" Dr. Chernov inquired.

"That is a minimalist example, yes." The Altacarians had denied permission to convert an unused mountain range into a fortress-embassy, citing some lame reasons such as 'ecological nature preserve' or some such. So they merely settled to have the Bragulans build an armored pyramid citadel in the middle of a desolate desert. For quite some time now, that fortress had been Spozavik's home.

Chernov's other eyebrow went up. "Ah, exactly how much territory would a non-minimalist example cover?"

"It would depend on how much you are willing to make available. However, I am not a qualified planner of fortress-embassies; perhaps that can be left up to the permanent delegation?" The haggling over the precise details of fortress-embassies would be best left to the qualified planners. So if something went wrong, or if the Bragulan superiors were dissatisfied because the settlement reached was lesser than a mountain-fortress, then it would not be Spozavik's tail on the line.

"Yes. Though on a preliminary basis, I'd say... no antiship weapons, no high-energy weapons in or near urban areas, and if you want real estate for a large installation, you'll likely have to pay for it." Chernov answered tentatively.

Spozavik thought that over. It seemed fair; no logical nation would want alien foreigners constructing an installation loaded down with heavy weapons in the middle of their space. Or to simply give them enormous tracts of valuable land. Perhaps we can construct a full fortress-embassy on some more remote Umerian planet, while building a mere pillbox-consulate in the capital to stay in touch with the government... That would have the advantage of allowing Bragule to maintain a useful presence in the Spin Zone, while at the same time keeping them in a position to have the full necessary degree of limited foreign interaction with the host nation.

But this was a complicated issue. He decided the question was best left to the permanent delegation.

Spozavik nodded to be polite. "Very well. The question is best left to the permanent delegation, I think."

There was some more amiable chit-chat, the Umerians mostly talking about things about which he knew little and cared less. Spozavik considered making a few remarks to his own aides, especially lovely Gryza. But that might not be such a good idea: it was beyond imagining that the Umerians would not have surveillance systems in place capable of picking up their conversation and translating it from the Bragulan. Anything important they said could be used against them!

Spozavik was still trying to think of a safe topic for a conversation with Gryza when one of the humans at the middle of the table turned to Spozavik. He was an unusually large human, almost Bragulan-sized, though it was obvious that much of that bulk was made of copious deposits of blubber. This was somewhat unusual, as most Umerians were reasonably fit by the standards of a nation of technobureaucrats- admittedly, not high standards, but still.

“So, it's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Shpectkov; I’m from the Bureau of Armaments. I’ll be discussing the missile deal in a bit more depth tomorrow, if you don’t mind, but I was wondering... could we get a look at one of those new gunstars you’re building for the Shepistanis?” The tubby human winked. Was that a joke? Spozavik decided to play it straight, because he couldn’t doublethink his way through the possibilities fast enough to answer in time to be polite. Sometimes it was necessary to just speak the truth, or at least the official version of the truth..

“That would violate our nondisclosure agreements with the Shepistanis, I’m afraid. I hope it won’t be a problem for our trade relationship?”

Dr. Chernov shook his head back and forth, the human gesture of negation. “Not at all. If we were to refuse to deal with every nation with Shepistan, we’d never get anything done. Why, we’d have to refuse to trade with ourselves!”

The notion of a nation refusing to trade with itself was... actually interesting as a feat of doublethink, for a non-Bragulan. Spozavik needed to know more, though, so he probed deeper. “Some nations would not be happy trading with someone who sells weapons to their rivals.”

“The situation here is not without tension, but we’re not in the constant state of low-level warfare you see in the Koprulu Sector. Why, we’d consider building gunstars for the Shepistanis ourselves!”

Spozavik blinked in confusion at that; that sounded like an impossible level of peaceability given what he’d heard about the region. But Chernov was still talking. “Of course, good luck finding all the backdoors in the fire control software afterwards...”

Everyone around the table started laughing. One of the military officers pretended to speak into a handset. “Transmit authentication code Nu Kappa Iota Epsilon, order friendlies to concentrate fire on battlestar Nowhereville.

Of course! Now that made sense! To sell an enemy ships programmed to shoot at his other ships... that was truly canny and devious. Perhaps Chernov would make a good Bragulan. Or at least a useful one. A useful not-idiot. Spozavik barked out a laugh.

"Ho-ho! Very clever of you!"

Spozavik chuckled to himself once again. These Umerians technocraticos might think themselves very clever to imagine such a ploy. But if they were shopping for Bragulan missiles, it would just go to show that they were not so clever as they thought. For the great Byzon was already many years ahead of them in devising this trick!

One of the less-known secrets of Bragulan weapons technology was that the export versions of all Bragulan spacecraft and space weapons, such as Spuds, missileguns, gunmissiles, missilemissiles, and the ever-popular gungun contained surprisingly complex IBF (Identify: Bragulan or Foe) hardware. Against human forces, the weapons would perform exactly as their makers intended: with lethal effect, destroying as many humans as possible.

But when fired against Bragulan forces, they would still perform exactly as their makers intended: with lethal effect, destroying as many humans as possible! In the event of treachery, the missiles were programmed to launch from their tubes, fly around in a circle, and blow up the humans' own ships. For it was as the great Imperator had said, on the day that he first declared that Bragule would begin exporting its mighty weapons to the galaxy: "The humans will buy from us the rope they will use to hang themselves!"

Spozavik would be willing to wager much that even these oh-so-tricksy Umerians would be unable to find the hidden circuitry. Granted, it was obviously most unlikely that such a remote and seemingly peaceable band of humans would seek to wage war on the glourious Imperator. But it was, as always, amusing to imagine the carnage that would result among their own forces should they attempt such treachery.

Spozavik leaned back, his reinforced chair creaking slightly. He felt most relieved and happy at this thought, as was always the case when, dealing with foreigners, he found cause to remind himself of the true order of the universe: the superiority of the Bragulan people!




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Soon, all the humans had finished their dinner. Chernov clapped his hands. “If everyone is done with the main course, then it is time for dessert!” He tapped an unobtrusive device set into the edge of the table. Soon, a waiter arrived with a tray of covered platters.

“In honor of our respected guests from the Rimward Edge, tonight we shall dine on Sichuan honeycakes!”

Mmm... honeycakes. Spozavik salivated about that prospects and reminisced about his time in the Byzon Youth, when they went to Spevik Ansils on a camping trip. He remembered how he climbed atop a great and terrible Bannerskullspikewood tree (originally planted by Byzantine nun-pilgrims, who were killed when Byzon claimed the world for mighty Bragule) to get some honey. He had gotten the bee hive and tasted the most succulent honeys, but the most delicious honeys were also made by the most dreaded Bragfricanized jollibees, deadly red-and-yellow jacketed insectoids with multiple barbed stingers like scorpiontails. He remembered how the jollibees swarmed and swarmed him, and how he jumped off the tree, had his fall softened by a rock, and how he ran for his life screaming and crying as he did so. Ah the joys of yesteryear.

He put himself back into the present.

“So, Dr. Chernov, I hear your people have been having some trouble with the Germanoid Prussians.”

Chernov waved his hand. “A minor issue. The League annexed the planet Volksland about a month ago. It is a minor, backward world with some loathsome habits, and we would normally not care, but it lies very close to our main trade route toward the Rim.”

Ah. This was a problem with which Spozavik and the Bragulan Star Empire were all too familiar. There were many such worthless shitworlds in Wild Space, too useless to be of real value except as strip-mines to feed the Bragulan war machine, but too strategico-tactically positioned to be abandoned to the Sovereignty or Imperium. Like Majella and Jenova. So long as no one moved in to control them they could be ignored, but as soon as someone got involved, their rivals would have to respond, often with mighty fleets that would otherwise be wasted on such a shitworld. Worlds like this were often the cause of games of “Tannhauser Tango,” and were a valuable source of live-fire training for the Bragulan fleet.

“So, you think the Prussians made this move to provoke Umeria, to test your resolve? Or perhaps just a gesture of badwill towards Umeria?”

“Honestly? No. I think they made this move without considering the consequences. They are prone to acting rashly, and without paying attention to the response of other nations. In my opinion, it is not a question of what the Prussians were thinking, Comrade Shpechtkov; it is a question of if the Prussians were thinking.”

Was that another joke? Maybe not! But if the Technarch was not joking, then he truly had a problem. For the thought of having to live next door to a bunch of such exceptionally brainless and illogical humans was alarming. The Bragulans’ human neighbors might be degenerates, but at least they made sense. The Imperium was kind of like a sort of twisted mirror image of Bragulanity, as humans might try to ape it in their apelike hominid ways. The Sovereignty was much stranger, but it was mostly ruled by computers with brains the size of planetoids, so you could usually count on them to do something that wasn’t totally foolish.

But what would it be like to deal with a neighbor that did things like conquering planets without any intentions at all, hostile or friendly? That did not even consider the possibility that you might know or care what they were doing until they had already done it? You could not teach them to fear your wrath, for they would be too stupid to fear anything! They would keep provoking your wrath, time and again, for they would be too unimaginative to even recognize that your wrath might exist!

That could make for a difficult neighbor.

“Hmm. It sounds like they can make difficult neighbors.”

“Indeed. This new... Hoffman government, it is impossible to say what they will decide to do left to their own devices. To make matters worse, it is questionable whether they even control their own nation’s policy. One day they assure us they will not annex Volksland, the next their ‘parliament’ decides to annex Volksland. There is no warning, no way to be sure that you are speaking to someone with the authority to make promises or with the personal sense of honor to admit that they cannot make promises.”

Hmm. Perhaps this was a weakness in the Umerians? That they would tend to assume other nations would stand by their agreements, even when it would be inexpedient to do so? But on the other hand, it was also a potential problem in deals with them. One might pointlessly anger Umerians by casually violating an agreement, and have to deal with their displeasure without getting anything of value from breaking one’s promise. That would be bad.

“I see. If that is so, how do you deal with them at all?”

“I am beginning to think the secret is to lead them by the nose. To use... well, my colleague Dr. Warren-Marshall calls it “stimulus-response.” It is like dealing with an amoeba. Poke them here, they twitch there. With the right stimulus, one may be able to convince them that they actually need to consult with their neighbors before doing anything rash in the future. Though I do not hold out much hope for teaching them such a lesson in the long term, I think we can at least bring them to the table over the matter of Volksland.”

“Leverage...” This was an opportunity to gain more insight! “...what sort of leverage would you use in response to such a provocation as this?”

“Well, some of my brighter assistants have made interesting suggestions along the lines of using, say, a division of battlecruisers.”

HA! Going from what he remembered from Jayne’s a Umerian battlecruiser division was not an especially powerful fleet unit, but it was certainly not to be despised by the standards of any single world’s defenses. Especially not given the Umerians’ suicidal indifference to armor protection on the battlecruiser: from the numbers, they would be easy to kill in a large scale fight, but easy to be killed by, as well. As a beating stick for de-educating foolish neighbors without provoking general war... he could imagine the Empire doing much the same. Intriguing.

“Hmm. Battlecruisers, eh? I see we were correct to take a direct flight and gate to Reisenburg directly, instead of passing through Prussia.”

“Indeed. It is best to avoid going to Prussia, if it is not necessary to do so. It is a silly place.”



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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